Today the ACC announced a Grant of Rights, meaning that all the ACC school’s presidents have agreed to relinquish control of their universities’ television rights for the length of their current TV contract, which runs through the 2026-2027. The Big 12 has a similar agreement. This may be premature (it is), but with the four-team playoff starting after next season and this news from the ACC, the realignment frenzy may be dying down.
The ACC has improved as much as any during the madness. They added one of the most prominent programs in college football, Notre Dame, as a partial member and a Final Four team from a tremendous television market, Syracuse. After Maryland left for the Big 10 and the conference’s stability came into question, they managed to replace the Terrapins, one of their weakest members, with the nation’s best basketball program that wasn’t already in the ACC (save Kentucky). Louisville will also be one of the three or four best football programs in the conference. They also added Pittsburgh (unfortunately, I don’t have any special compliments for Pitt, except they are a decent school in a decent sized market).
In less exciting news, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State from the FCS’s Southern Conference and Idaho and New Mexico State from the now defunct WAC are joining the Sun Belt. Make no mistake, there will still be little shifts like these. For example, USF, Connecticut, and Cincinnati remain in the now sub-standard Big East, but with the Big 12, ACC, and SEC in position to retain all their members, major shifts to the college landscape appear to be slowing down. We can expect a few more small changes, maybe some less than glamorous additions to the Big 12, but all the major programs appear to be locked up now. Am I forgetting anybody? Looks like we can take a breath and enjoy college football without the fear of Apocalypse, at least for a little while.
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